jueves, 30 de mayo de 2013

Opponent's visit to Bogotá provokes Venezuela's ire

Venezuelan officials warned on 29 May they would review the country's supporting role in peace talks being held between Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) after the Colombian President met in Bogotá with Venezuela's leading opposition politician Henrique Capriles Radonsky. Capriles met in private with President Juan Manuel Santos on 29 May, but also with parliamentarians; media cited him as urging Colombia not to abandon Venezuelans after what the opposition has denounced as Nicolás Maduro's fraudulent election as President. Even without his meeting, Venezuelan officials were angered by his trip to Bogotá, accusing him as they did previously other opponents of having ties to Colombia's conservatives and most notably the former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez. Venezuelan television cited the country's Foreign Minister Elías Jaua Milano as saying that President Maduro had asked him to recall Roy Chadderton, Venezuela's envoy at talks with the FARC in Havana for a "complete assessment" of Venezuela's role, Bogotá's Radio Santa Fe reported on 30 May. Receiving Capriles he said was a "very bad signal" and seemed to confirm suspicions that there was a "plot against Venezuela from Bogotá. We did not want to believe that this conspiracy reached the high powers of the Colombian state...it is very difficult to work for the peace of a brother country when Venezuela's destabilisation is being stimulated and encouraged from the highest institutions of that brother people." The Colombian Foreign Ministry stated that Colombia would discuss this matter with Venezuela "directly and without microphones," Radio Santa Fe reported. The incident seemed to end the relatively cordial or working relations the neighbours have had since Mr Santos became President in August 2010. On 30 May Capriles qualified Venezuelan officials' threats as "unacceptable" and a piece of blackmail from "losers," Globovisión reported, citing comments by Capriles to Colombia's Blu Radio. He said "this is losers kicking, because that is all that is left to those who stole the elections: insulting...trying to prevent the voice of millions of Venezuelans being heard in Colombia, as it will be heard" elsewhere in Latin America. The former conservative president Uribe also wrote on the website Twitter that the meeting was "institutional and known," not "clandestine" like meetings he has alleged Venezuela has repeatedly held with "the terrorist FARC." He wrote that Venezuelan officials' declarations were the "normal reaction of a dictatorship," repeating however his hostility to current talks with the FARC, Radio Santa Fe reported on 30 May.